Be­hind the drums

Mor­gan Rose talks first kits, skip­ping class and his love of Luzier

Rhythm - - CONTENTS - Words: Rich Cham­ber­lain pho­tos: press

I n the 46 years since he first picked up a pair of drum sticks (jam­ming Hen­drix tunes with his fa­ther at the ten­der age of three years old), Mor­gan Rose has carved out a ca­reer as not just a might­ily hard-hit­ting drum­mer, but also as one of the most en­ter­tain­ing play­ers of his gen­er­a­tion. Rose’s work with Seven­dust – a band that he co-founded way back in 1994 – is ab­so­lutely drenched in charisma. No won­der then that down the years, aside from his jaw-drop­ping work with his main band, Rose has been tapped to fill in for rock heavy­weights like Möt­ley Crüe and Korn when last-minute gigs have arisen. Com­ing back to Seven­dust, the band has racked up a slew of Top 20 records over in the States, shift­ing mil­lions of al­bums in the process. Their lat­est ef­fort, Al­lISeeIs

War, is their 11th stu­dio re­lease (not count­ing 2014’s acous­tic record Time Trav­el­ers& Bon­fires) was re­leased in May and it once again finds Rose on top form. On the eve of the al­bum’s re­lease, we chat­ted to the en­er­getic sticks­man and put to him our raft of key ques­tions; from first kits and early lessons to dream drum teach­ers, the secrets of a great live show and much more...

What was the first drum kit that you owned?

“My first kit was a Black Tama Rock­star. I ended up spray paint­ing it blue ze­bra striped, like a com­plete and ut­ter id­iot.”

Who were your ear­li­est drum he­roes? Who in­spired you right from the start?

“My first drum hero was prob­a­bly Terry Bozzio. My dad would play Zappa videos and I was mes­merised.”

Did you take lessons or were you self taught?

“That’s an in­ter­est­ing ques­tion. I at­tended MI (Mu­si­cians In­sti­tute), but I rarely went to class. I thought it was a bet­ter idea to swal­low up all that LA had to of­fer, other than the school, of course. An­other id­iot move. Ha!”

What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t live with­out?

“Hm­m­mmm. To­day, I’ll say my [Pearl Throne] Thumper. I’ve be­come in­cred­i­bly de­pen­dent on it over the years. When­ever I’ve had it go down, or if I have done fly gigs with­out it, it feels su­per-awk­ward.”

What’s the big­gest on­stage night­mare you’ve ever had?

“I’ve had many. I guess the one thatI al­ways go back to is hav­ing a 40° tem­per­a­ture and vom­it­ing in buck­ets while jam­ming. I mean, that’s hap­pened a num­ber of times. But I can’t think of any­thing that’s been worse than that for me.”

Who would you most like to take a drum les­son from?

“If I could have any amount of time with Bon­ham,I don’t know what I’d do. Other than him, I don’t know, Ray Luzier? One of my clos­est bud­dies that makes me nau­seous ev­ery time I watch him play! That would be com­i­cal and ed­u­ca­tional.”

What do you see as your great­est strength and your big­gest weak­ness as a drum­mer?

“I guess my big­gest strength is be­ing en­ter­tain­ing while not com­pletely fall­ing apart on the deck. I try not to look at too many videos of me play­ing, be­cause, to me, it looks ridicu­lous. If you’re gonna be stupid up there vis­ually, you should be able to hold the ortf down. The weak­nesses are ev­ery­where! I’d say my big­gest weak­ness is that I never prac­tise. EVER! Hence the rea­son for the weak­nesses be­ing ev­ery­where. I just don’t jam. I like writ­ing songs lyri­cally, melod­i­cally. I like work­ing on counter melodies. The last thing I usu­ally think about is the drum parts. I don’t know. I don’t ad­vise it!”

Who do you see as a vastly un­der­rated drum­mer?

“I’d say Ray Luzier. Even though he’s got­ten plenty of at­ten­tion. I don’t re­ally think enough peo­ple know that the guy is se­ri­ous busi­ness.He ba­si­cally can do what­ever he wants on the kit. Like I said, it’s nau­se­at­ing.”

What has been the proud­est mo­ment of your ca­reer to date?

“It’s al­ways been play­ing for our mil­i­tary. We’ve done so many amaz­ing things over the years. But to see the re­ac­tion of men and women that are putting their lives on the line, re­act like they have to us... It’s the high­est hon­our for us as a band.It changed my life. Aside from mu­sic? It’s been watch­ing my chil­dren grow up. My daugh­ter is out of con­trol as a dancer. She brings me to tears ev­ery time I watch her. She’s the Luzier of bal­let in my opin­ion, ha ha!”

What was the first song you learned to play?

“My dad and I ar­gue over this one. I say, ‘If 6 Was 9’ by Jimi Hen­drix, but he says ‘Bul­let­head’. I don’t know... I re­mem­ber it as ‘If 6 Was 9’.

What’s the best piece of ad­vice you’ve ever been given?

“I’ve been given lots of great ad­vice over the years by other mu­si­cians but I’ve rarely lis­tened to it un­for­tu­nately. Ha ha! I’d say, to watch your busi­ness. If you’re do­ing this for a liv­ing, watch your busi­ness. The amount of trust we gave to peo­ple in our busi­ness was stupid. Not many peo­ple walk into an in­ter­view say­ing, ‘I’m prob­a­bly not gonna be able to do mu­chorf you, but there’s a good chance I’m gonna rob you f***ing blind while smil­ing at you.’ But that’s hap­pened to us mul­ti­ple times. You just have to be con­scious of what’s go­ing on around you.”

What’s the key to a great live per­for­mance?

“I’d say be­ing men­tally and phys­i­cally pre­pared. If you’re in a tour­ing sit­u­a­tion that’s em­pha­sised even more. But I’m not sure peo­ple re­alise the men­tal side is as im­por­tant if not more, than the phys­i­cal. In my opin­ion any­way.”

Clear or coated heads – do you have a pref­er­ence?

“I like clear heads, my tech likes coated. So I play coated.” [laughs]

Damp­ened kit or let it ring?

“I like to hear the kit ring all day, my sound man wants a lit­tle goo on it to dampen the sound of the k.itWe go with the goo!”

Mor­gan Rose: 46 years be­hind the kit and still hit­ting hard

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